Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a chronic condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, causing severe facial pain. The pain can be triggered by various stimuli, such as touching the face, eating, drinking, talking or even a breeze.
Treatments for TN are broadly classified into three categories: Surgery, Pharmacotherapy and Complementary. Recently, acupuncture has been gaining a reputation as a promising main complementary treatment for TN, with several studies demonstrating its effectiveness in reducing pain and improving patients’ quality of life1,2,3.
In this blog post, we will explore how acupuncture can help with TN, based on scientific evidence and our own clinical experience.
Treatment with NAOKI HATTORI Traditional Japanese Therapy
NAOKI HATTORI Traditional Japanese Therapy is based on the principle of meridian therapy*, which aims to harmonize the energy flow along the meridians or channels that connect different parts of the body. According to meridian therapy, TN is caused by an imbalance or blockage of energy in the Yangming meridian, which runs along the face and head.
To correct this imbalance, NAOKI HATTORI Traditional Japanese Therapy uses very fine needles to stimulate specific points on the Yangming and other related meridians. The needles are inserted very shallowly and gently, without causing any pain or discomfort. The needle stimulation helps to release the tension and pressure on the trigeminal nerve, reduce inflammation, and restore normal sensation.
The Case of Madame S
Madame S, a 45-year-old woman, had been tormented by trigeminal neuralgia (TN) for 2 to 3 months. The sudden and excruciating pain on the left side of her face, especially around her eye, cheek, and jaw, was triggered by anything touching her face. She had tried a variety of treatments for her TN, but none brought her lasting relief. From medications to alternative therapies, Sonia felt like she had tried it all. The pain persisted, however, affecting her daily life and emotional well-being.
It was only when she learned about NAOKI HATTORI Traditional Japanese Therapy that she found hope. After just two sessions, Madame S reported a 90% reduction in her pain. The treatments not only alleviated her pain but also improved her overall well-being and quality of life.
According to Madame S, her experience with NAOKI HATTORI Traditional Japanese Therapy was transformative. She felt that it not only addressed her TN but also harmonized her overall energy, bringing her a sense of peace and balance.
Acupuncture’s Potential Mechanism for the Treatment of TN
Recent studies have confirmed that acupuncture alleviates trigeminal neuralgia by modulating synaptic plasticity in the hippocampal CA1 region, a core area involved in processing pain, emotions, cognition, and memory. This modulation has been shown to reduce abnormal orofacial pain and anxiety-like behavior4.
The analgesic effect of acupuncture is also linked to its influence on substance P and β-endorphin levels, both of which play key roles in pain perception. Specifically, acupuncture decreases substance P content and enhances β-endorphin expression. Techniques such as electronic acupuncture, when combined with manual acupuncture, have shown significant efficacy in pain reduction2.
Furthermore, studies suggest that electroacupuncture may regulate the imbalance in the brain’s functional network, targeting areas responsible for pain perception, emotion management, and cognition, including the cerebellum, limbic lobe, and frontal gyrus5.
Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a challenging condition that can cause severe pain and distress to those who suffer from it. Hope and help are available, however, with acupuncture, especially with NAOKI HATTORI Traditional Japanese Therapy. This acupuncture method has proven to be effective and safe for TN, as well as other neurological disorders.
We provide a holistic and individualized treatment that takes into account the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of each patient. The treatment plan is tailored to suit the patient’s condition, symptoms, constitution, and preferences. If you struggle with TN but have been unable to discover a safe and effective treatment, this might be a good time for you to consider Traditional Japanese Acupuncture.
Meridian Therapy: This is a form of acupuncture that originated in Japan in the late 1930s. It is based on the concept of qi, the vital energy that flows through the body along specific pathways called meridians. The goal of meridian therapy is to regulate one’s qi through proper palpation and feedback through the pulse. Japanese meridian therapy places great emphasis on palpation of the radial pulses and the abdominal region in order to select the primary imbalance of the body. The four patterns that may exist temporarily or chronically are Taiyo (yang excess), Kyo (yang deficiency), Jitsu (yin excess), and Sho (yin deficiency).
- Ichida, M. C., Zemuner, M., Hosomi, J. K., Pai, H. J., Teixeira, M. J., De Siqueira, J. T. T., & De Siqueira, S. R. D. T. (2017, October 28). Acupuncture treatment for idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia: A longitudinal case-control double blinded study. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine; Springer Science+Business Media. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11655-017-2786-0
- Yin, Z., Wang, F., Sun, M., Zhao, L., & Liang, F. (2022, February 21). Acupuncture Methods for Primary Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Hindawi Publishing Corporation. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/3178154
- Liao, C. C., Lin, C. L., Liao, K. R., & Li, J. M. (2020, December 1). Long-Term Beneficial Effects of Acupuncture with Reduced Risk of Depression Development Following Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment; Dove Medical Press. https://doi.org/10.2147/ndt.s284857
- Jia, Y. Z., Li, H., Zhang, G., Wu, H., Zhang, S. S., Zhi, H., Wang, Y., Zhu, J., Wang, Y., Xu, X. Q., Tian, C. J., & Cui, W. (2022, October 6). Electroacupuncture alleviates orofacial allodynia and anxiety-like behaviors by regulating synaptic plasticity of the CA1 hippocampal region in a mouse model of trigeminal neuralgia. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience; Frontiers Media. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2022.979483
- Tang, D., Zhang, X., Xu, Y. N., Dai, L., Sun, J., Hu, H., Jiang, H., Jin, P., Chen, L., & Fang, J. (2021, January 1). The Central Response of Electroacupuncture on Trigeminal Neuralgia Based on Resting-State Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A Protocol for a Pre-Experimental, Single-Centre, Randomized, Controlled Trial. PubMed; National Institutes of Health. https://doi.org/10.2147/jpr.s334078